If you've got a legal question, we've got answers.
Get advice before you sign a contract: There’s no cooling-off period for real estate contracts in Western Australia. Once the contract is signed by both parties, it’s legally binding. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice on the draft contract before you sign it.
Most settlements proceed smoothly. But if there’s a problem, it’s good to know that we can advise you of your rights and tackle the difficulty on the spot.
How we can help you
Practical advice and solutions.
Express contract review consultation
For advice on draft (unsigned) contracts, we offer a consultation at our office or by telephone or videoconference.
We can generally have your consultation within two business days of your booking.
Bookings must be made by telephone.
Legal advice consultation
For advice on signed contracts or legal issues during settlement, book a consultation with one of our property lawyers.
After the consultation, we will give you a written quote for any further service.
Unable to attend our office? We can conduct your consultation by telephone or video conference – please contact us.
What to bring to the consultation:
- your photo identification;
- a copy of the contract and any other relevant documents.
Why choose us
Friendly and efficient service
Excellent value for money
Meet our team
We’re a law firm with more than 30 years’ experience in property law. As lawyers we can offer you so much more than a settlement agent. If there’s a problem with your settlement, it’s good to know that we, your settlement lawyers, can advise you of your rights and tackle the difficulty on the spot.
Legal Practitioner Director
Settlements team leader
Accountant and analyst
Most contracts to buy real estate in Western Australia are made by way of offer and acceptance on the standard two-page Contract for sale of land or strata title by offer and acceptance (O&A) published by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) and the Law Society of Western Australia. The seemingly simple document incorporates the 2018 General Conditions set out in a separate 21-page booklet that is far more complicated. Both the O&A and the General Conditions are updated from time to time. If you’re buying or selling real estate, you need to understand both the O&A and the General Conditions – or have access to a professional who does.
The standard REIWA contract provides that if for any reason attributable to the other party, settlement is not completed within 3 business days after the settlement date, you may demand compensation at the rate of 9% per annum on the balance of the purchase price payable (penalty interest). Penalty interest is calculated from the settlement date to the date upon which settlement is completed and must be paid at settlement.
Your right to compensation is subject to you and your lender (if any) being ready, willing and able to complete settlement on the settlement date. If you are not ready, willing and able to settle on the settlement date, then your right to compensation begins from the date upon which you give written notice to the other party that you are ready, willing and able to complete the settlement.
We will only claim penalty interest on your behalf if we receive your written instructions to do so. We will advise you should there be any delay in settlement.
For more information, read out blog post Penalties for late settlement.
The Electricity Regulations 1947 (WA) require sellers of residential properties built after 1 January 2000 to install at least 2 residual current devices (RCD’s) in the premises before the sale is completed.
It is also compulsory that mains powered smoke alarms are installed in residential properties prior to sale.
Prior to settlement, the seller should provide the buyer with a certificate certifying that RCD’s and smoke alarms are installed in accordance with the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991.
More information can be found at the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety and at the Department of Fire & Emergency Services.
Unless stated in the contract, the property is sold free of all encumbrances. This means that, at settlement, any mortgages, caveats and other encumbrances must be discharged so that the buyer receives a clear title.
If there is a mortgage or other encumbrance on the title, the seller must contact the relevant financial institution or other persons and request that the encumbrance be removed at settlement.
The most common reason that settlement is delayed by a seller is that the discharging financier is not ready to settle. If settlement is delayed for this reason the seller may be liable to pay penalty interest to the buyer.
Transfer duty (formerly known as stamp duty) is a State Government tax calculated on the value of the property. You can calculate transfer duty using our settlement calculator.
The buyer is liable to pay transfer duty on the contract and transfer. You may be eligible for a reduced rate of transfer duty if you are a first home buyer or you are buying a residence for owner occupation.
You must lodge your contract at the Office of State Revenue for assessment within 2 months of the contract date. If you fail to do so you may be liable to pay a fine or late lodgement penalties.